Michelle Lamberson does not have a job I envy.  Balancing the needs and budgets of her office with the needs of UBC students, faculty and departments is a recipe for the adage. “you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.  There is no way to please everyone.

She is intelligent and obviously possesses the skills to balance all of the demands placed upon her and her office.  She gives the impression that she takes in multiple viewpoints and considers them all.  If I had any critique to offer, I would suggest she be more aware of her eye movement during the interview.  While very often intelligent people look away to form a thought it can be misinterpreted as evasiveness.  She is fully versed in her subject and would project this more clearly if she held her gaze more directly.  This small nuance falls into the credibility category.

In a short interview, deeply considered projects can appear to have been quick and easy judgments.  The decision to offer blogs and wikis to all students is almost presented as an experiment.  The endpoint or definition of success is unclear yet, I am not sure in this case it can be clear.  Decision-making within this paradigm is most challenging. An institution like UBC must be willing to try a few ‘experiments’ after intelligent consideration.

As for the question – would I invest in this enterprise? – I believe my tuition bill speaks for itself.


1 Marjorie del Mundo { 09.15.09 at 11:51 pm }

Interesting that you mention the eye movements throughout the interview, Sharon. I think for a business pitch, it is important to hold eye contact and that for a more informal interview, perhaps eye movement would not be as relevant. In fact, I read your post before watching Michelle Lamberson’s interview and I noticed the eye movements more! After that, I watched the UBC IT Services interview with Ted Dodds and noticed the difference immediately. While both were knowledgeable about the products and services their respective units offered, I was more drawn to Dodds’ speech because he appeared more confident and his gaze was pretty steady the whole time.


2 Sean McMinn { 09.16.09 at 3:09 am }

Hi Sharon,

You said: “The endpoint or definition of success is unclear yet, I am not sure in this case it can be clear.” Good point. It seems that she’s following an Action Plan type of loop … prototype, test, measure, adjust, revise, test … There doesn’t seem to be an endpoint. But should there be?

I’ll admit, though, that her pitch comes across as being unclear. What is the overall objective? What’s the model? Who will benefit the most (students, I think; but I’m not sure)? Yes, she said UBC was doing things other universities aren’t; but, so? What niche is she trying to fill? An alternative to CMSs?

Sorry for all the questions.

3 David Vogt { 09.16.09 at 8:32 am }

On the question of what “niche” to fill, one of the most difficult jobs for an intrapreneur is to interpret the vision of the organization they belong to (if, in fact, it has one!) in terms of the specific deliverables and opportunity landscape of their position mandate. In Michelle’s case, UBC’s vision regarding learning technologies is fuzzy at best, therefore it may be tactically unwise for her to be razor-sharp in her pitch (it creates too much exposure). She can then move forward on many fronts toward an objective without being too explicit about that. The objective of her pitch, then, may simply be to convey that there is a knowledgeable, competent and passionate individual in charge. I think she succeeds there.

4 Sharon Hann { 09.16.09 at 3:17 pm }

She most certainly did succeed in conveying her competencies. I hope that wasn’t lost in my comments. I found this pitch harder to analyze because it’s not a simple, for-profit, corporate model but one with many unseen layers and goals. It was harder to mesh it with the keypoints discussed in the outline.

5 Sean McMinn { 09.17.09 at 6:03 am }


I hadn’t thought of it like that. Makes sense, and, now that you mention it, I can see some similarities at my university.

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